At our children’s Christian school, they have bi-weekly “workshops” that are offered to the kids at the junior-high level. These are offered by parents and teachers and cover a wide range of topics and interests. Angela did one this year on banner-making and they created several banners (check out some examples here.)
Before the beginning of the year, I felt that God was challenging me to offer a workshop on “worship”. This was not to be a “music” workshop where we simply sang songs. I really wanted to lay a foundation as to what “worship” really is; how it is defined in the Bible; what is the range of what could be called “worship”. I wanted to break down stereo-types of worship and try to “let God out of the box”.
Well, I cranked up my courage and proposed the workshop.
Only 1 student signed up…;(
I was a bit disappointed and even blogged about it.
I was also relieved and thought that it was “over” for this year…I was wrong!
It turns out that at the beginning of the year students sign up for all 3 trimesters in the year. What was not clear to me was that 6 students had signed up for the 3rd trimester! So, when I found out about that, I had to crank up my courage again and prepare. This has been hard, as I don’t enjoy preparing for teaching. I have a “teaching” motivational gift but actually giving teachings is not my greatest joy in life…and it still isn’t!
At the beginning of the year, I had the idea that I could easily fill a whole year with a “Worship Workshop”…about 15 sessions of 2 hours each. I still think that an in-depth course on worship with lots of practical hands-on would easily be able to fill up that time…and then some! After all, what will we be doing for eternity!?
Well, only 5 sessions (just the 3rd trimester) presents a different picture. What are the 5 essential themes of worship? Good question! Hard question!
Other wrenches in the works:
- In French, the typical nomenclature for what goes on in church on Sunday morning is “praise” and not “worship”. My definitions of “worship” are largely based on the actual word…though “praise” presents an interesting study as well.
- The way that my idea of a “worship workshop” was presented to the students (not by me) was using the word “praise” with the connotation of “music”. Basically, nobody “got it”, as far as what I was trying to do.
- Some students get into a given workshop because their first, or even second choice was not available.
- There are a handful of kids the the school who probably have not yet made a commitment to follow the Lord
- There are plenty of kids who don’t have a “church-going” background
So, I ended up with 6 students who didn’t really have a good idea of what they signed up for and were not, perhaps, even in a workshop they wanted to be in…and a couple may not have even been Christians.
Needless to say, this was not easy. In fact, it was downright hard and unpleasant! I have basically zero experience with teaching junior high kids and these were on the younger end of the spectrum as well. I obviously need work on my teaching skills because the response I got while teaching was not too enthusiastic. I think there were 7 of us who were glad that this workshop had finally run its course!
At the end of the 5 sessions, I have very little evidence of positive impact other than the always-helpful “learning the hard way” for me. I realized, probably above everything else, that kids of the 6-7th grade age think too concretely for my style of thinking and teaching. I’m mostly focused on adults when I’m teaching or trying to get across a concept…and even then I can have a problem! ;c) So, it was good for me to better understand the way the kids received teaching and just how important concrete, hands-on activities will be in exploring the world of worship.
Anyway, this was a difficult experience for me and I’m asking the Lord, “Just how can I help foster a lifestyle of worship in these kids?” and “Do I do this again?” (I don’t really want to right now!)
Basically…”What was that all about?”